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  • #29772 Reply

    So after having written a Motown track this week and looking for reference tracks, I realized that most of these 1960’s tunes were very likely originally released in MONO, as stereo was in play but perhaps not fully consumed by the public yet. Can someone verify that the majority of the early 1960’s original mixes released to the public were MONO? The stereo mixes sound odd to me, as do many jazz recordings from a similar era.

    #29773 Reply
    Art Munson

    We have written a few of these but I mix them in stereo and they have been used. I guess it’s what you are going for. Real authenticity, I would think, would be mono. Of course might depended where in the 60s you are referencing.

    #29774 Reply

    Hey Art, I don’t think I would produce them in mono, but was just looking for some historical perspective. I like to make sure I really do the homework on genres when possible. And yes, I think stereo probably slowly worked it’s way into households as the 60s progressed. I wasn’t alive yet, so I don’t have 1st hand knowledge!

    #29775 Reply
    Happy Ears

    and don’t forget those old school, mixing schemes like panning bass and drums all the way to the left, vocals in the center than the rest to the right

    #29776 Reply

    Buying stereo mixes in the late 60s was sort of like what buying 192KHz files from HDTracks is today. It was more about “Hey, isn’t this cool, we can hear one instrument in this speaker, and vocals in the other” than how we really think of stereo now.

    Stereo mixes were commonly done after ~1965, but up until the early 70s they were often an afterthought compared to the mono mixes, a gimmick. It wasn’t uncommon for engineers to spend weeks getting the mono mix perfect, and then to just dash off the stereo mix in a few hours with the band/producer not even present at the session.

    It’s very common to hear engineers/artists from that era talking now about how superior the mono mixes are compared to the stereo mixes. You’re even seeing things now like projects to do proper mixes of classic albums in stereo (eg Sgt. Pepper’s).


    So honestly, when doing soundalikes from that era, I’m trying to stick to a “classic sound, modern mix/quality” mantra going forward. You’re not filling up the track with tape hiss, recording errors, generation loss from bouncing, so why stick to outdated mixing practices too?

    #29778 Reply

    Steven OBrien, thanks for chiming in. That is the exact historical info I was looking for! I knew someone on these forums would have the inside scoop. And yes, I also targeted the ‘classic sound/modern mix’ approach. I did have a feeling that the stereo mixes were not the primary focus for the early 60’s.

    #29784 Reply
    Michael Nickolas

    Like Steven says, late sixties. When I look at my albums I see blurbs assuring the customers that playing a stereo record on mono equipment wasn’t a problem. One sleeve says “a stereo record will last just as long as mono records played on the same equipment”. 🙂

    #29794 Reply

    And don’t forget what Capitol records did with their “Duophonic” system.
    Roll off the high end on the left speaker and the low end on the right!

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